Ewropej: Human rights approach needed regarding cannabis legislation

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“The war on drugs has failed and a human rights approach is needed on the matter,” Maltese MEP Cyrus Engerer said. 

The Labour Party MEP was speaking after his office organised one of the biggest pan-European conferences on cannabis for personal use, in conjunction with Encod. 

The MEP made submissions to the national government after it proposed that cannabis users should be allowed to grow their own plants at home and legally carry up to 7 grams of the drug for personal use. 

“In submissions to Government, we emphasised the need to steer users away from the black market and big pharma, and move towards growing or buying the product in a trustworthy and sustainable manner,” Engerer said. 

“Therefore, moving not only towards decriminalisation but also the legalisation of cannabis growing for personal use and its eventual use. In this sense, we have recommended the use of cannabis social enterprises, as in Uruguay, where those who do not have access to grow their own four plants would be able to pool resources with others in a regulated environment, to grow their own strains,” he added. 

Human rights, safety and community should be put on the forefront of the debate, the MEP said. 

The government proposals, which have opened up to public consultation, also open the door to creating a legalised market for cannabis flower and seeds, with Prime Minister Robert Abela saying the government would be listening to proposals about how the drug could be sold legally. 

“We want a regulated source where people can buy cannabis and its seeds. I believe this will be key to eradicating the black market, together with continued enforcement of existing laws,” Abela said. 

Penalties for cannabis trafficking will remain unchanged. 

Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar, who spearheaded work on cannabis reform when she served as junior minister for reforms, said the proposals would create a fairer system for responsible cannabis users. 

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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